Final Independent Research Written Report
Throughout my research of the Pachamama Community in Costa Rica, I was able to come to the conclusion that modern-day utopias are ultimately unable to fully detach from societal norms (laws and dependance on money). Is is important to outline however, that my conclusion was arrived at after the consultation of a considerable amount of different sources, and that my research question did undergo changes throughout the research process.
When I first found the Pachamama Community’s website through the Fellowship for Intentional Community website, I was interested in researching about the ways in which the community worked to stay true to its core-values: “awareness, simplicity, detachment from financial constraints, and serenity.”I began researching about the leader and founder of the community, Tyohar, follower of philosophical leader Osho, and had as an objective to find out how he made the inhabitants of his small “eco-community” be able to live in this modern example of a utopia. Instead of locating sources that would help me unravel the methods he made his community be a successful one however, I found first-hand accounts of visitors of the community that criticized the leader for not adequately representing neither his community’s beliefs (based on Osho’s teachings). Though his digital blogpost, the visitor explained that while the leader defended the idea that serenity is of outmost important, he did not act serene when one of his followers died in one of his expeditions through nature. Even after saying that his his follower had been enlightened (and thus died), Tyohar “cried his eyes out in a private satsang” and “avoided Arenu’s [the deceased follower’s] parents and later quietly removed every trace of Arenu.” When I unraveled that the first hand account did not have correlation with what the community’s website said the community’s values were, I decided to focus my research on how Pachamama served to identify how leaders of modern utopias gain and lose followers. Through the website and the first-hand exhibit source, I discovered that they gain followers by adhering to an already established philosophy (Osho’s), which is attractive to Westerners, and that they loste them by presenting inconstancies between what they claim to follow and their actions (evidenced in the visitor’s critical account of Tyohar).
However, I decided to polish my research question when I began making more profound research on Tyohar as the leader, and on Osho, whose beliefs he bases his community on. I found another exhibit source, another critical blogpost criticizing Tyohar for not acting according to his idea of living “free of financial constraints.” The writer of the blogpost explained that “all members of the community have to earn money somewhere outside of Pachamama; the other one hundred or so guests that pass through drop the big bucks to heal something or find something (e.g. misplaced contact lenses?).” By sensing how the writer ridiculed the leader of the community by humorously pointing out how he relies on the financial contributions of visitors, I began to think how my research could focus more on how Pachamama served to analyze how modern utopias cannot escape traditional social norms (such as dependance on money) even though they are against them. While keeping in mind the shift in my research’s focus, I delved deeper into Tyohar’s beliefs: Osho and his philosophy. I discovered that Osho was the nickname of the founder and leader of the Rajneeshpuram community in Oregon, and intentional community founded on the 1980s. Then, from a New York times article and a journal published by Oxford University Press on Rajneeshpuram, I found out that the community was able to have about seven thousand members, all of which followed Osho and his principles (the same as Pachamama’s): to live a simple life closely kindred to nature and permaculture, and free of societal constraints. However, as explained by the sources, the community had no legal permission to keep expanding in territory, and after the government confiscated considerable amounts of property, Osho lead an attack on local restaurants as a sign of protest, and its members purposely planted salmonella bacteria in their food. This lead to an outbreak of the diseases that the bacteria caused, and Osho and many of his followers were charged criminal charges. Osho then fled the United States, after being accounted as a “biological terrorist,” and an illegal migrant, and the community dissolved. This made me unravel how by tracing Tyohar’s ideological origin, I ran across another ‘utopia,’ Rajneeshpuram, that could not escape societal constraints (in this case laws).
I then found another source, an academic journal by Anthony D’ Andrea, which explained that Osho then founded the “Osho International Meditation Center” in Pune India, and how it is seems to intend to receive, exclusively, Western visitors. D’Andrea offers an insight into how the leader’s relocation in India is purposed to attract a Westernized audience, from which it is possible to infer that Osho’s beliefs need Western followers, who happen to be able make the financial maintenance of the resort possible. It is noteworthy that after conducting the research, I found that Tyohar spent months in the resort, and how the Pachamama Community’s website states that there he acquired the inspiration for Pachamama’s beginnings. Based on this article then, I could suggest that because the resort aims to attract Westerners, this is another example of how social constraints (financial matters) are still present in a community that tries to stay away from them. The Pachamama Community then, just like the community that its ideology is based on, also seems to be unable to escape social constraints (financial in this case), as evidenced in the sources. All this findings lead me to come to the conclusion that by tracing back its origins, the Pachamama Community serves to outline how modern-day utopias are ultimately unable to detach from societal norms.
“I have neither received nor given unauthorized material during the completion of this work.”
x. Daniel Majluf
D’andrea, Anthony. “Osho International Meditation Resort (Pune, 2000s): An Anthropological Analysis of Sannyasin Therapies and The Rajneesh Legacy.” <i>Journal of Humanistic Psychology</i> 47, no. 1 (2007): 110-113. Accessed November/December, 2015. doi:10.1177/0022167806292997.
Goldman, Marion S. 2009. “Averting Apocalypse at Rajneeshpuram”. Sociology of Religion 70 (3). [Oxford University Press, Association for the Sociology of Religion, Inc.]: 311–27. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40376079.
Kali_mon. “I Know the Crazy Control Freak.” I Know the Crazy Control Freak. May 4, 2010. Accessed November 17, 2015. http://www.gurusfeet.com/opinion/i-know-crazy-control-freak.
Pace, Eric. “Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, Indian Guru, Dies at 58.” The New York Times. January 19, 1990. Accessed November 20, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/20/obituaries/baghwan-shree-rajneesh-indian-guru-dies-at-58.html.
PachaMama Community. “PachaMama | Community in Costa Rica | Spiritual Communities.” Accessed November 20, 2015. http://www.pachamama.com/community.asp.
Travelpod. “Rebn’s Travel Blog: Ostional, Costa Rica.” TravelPod. December 7, 2006. Accessed November 20, 2015. http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/rebn/cr2006/1165780560/tpod.html.